One of the literary masterpieces by Jane Austen, a.k.a the classic novel that has elevated the expectations of women worldwide giving them the hope of meeting someone like “Mr. Darcy”. A book published in 1813, which has still maintained its popularity through out the generations. The plot is about the lives of Elizabeth and Jane Bennett stuck in a house with a dysfunctional family. A mother obsessed about getting her daughters married, a father too aloof to bother with such hysteria and three sisters of the most assorted personalities. What happens when you throw in a two handsome,eligible bachelors into the mix?
The story, although simple, highlights the morality and poor conditions of women during Austen’s time. During that century, all they thought about was their dowry, finding a wealthy groom and popping out little babes. The Bennett family didn’t have any connections, neither did their daughters have even the shadow of an inheritance. But that didn’t deter Mrs. Bennett, on the contrary, she presented her daughters like a money-grubbing salesperson pitches his best products. The three sisters, Lydia ( the bad influence), Kitty ( the copycat) and Mary ( too intelligent for her time, therefore, the oddball) were younger and extremely different from Jane and Lizzie. Lydia and Kitty were a duo, they remained attached at the hip and Kitty followed Lydia’s example who didn’t give a damn about anything except looks and boys. Mary was different and, thereby, alone and ignored.
Jane and Lizzie describe the two categories of girls. Jane is the calm, docile, reserved beauty while Lizzie is opinionated, vociferous and witty. Both these characters strike a chord with us. The book deals with the lives of these young women surrounded by the issues of betrayal, humiliation, judgement and rejection. The feelings common to all of us. The story still remains so identifiable that it has been adapted into serials and many movies, with these adaptations graced by stars such as Colin Firth, Kiera Knightly etc. The brilliance of this story is that while it is about the love of Lizzie & Darcy, Jane & Bingley and the unfortunate marriage of Lydia and Wickham, the tale is foremostly about women, by a woman, for women.
Yes, the book is about Darcy’s and the upper-class’s prejudiced views of everyone who is not one of them, and Lizzie’s pride ( hurt by Darcy’s haughty air and his unkind remarks about her looks and family) with the subplots of The Wicked Wickham, Mr. Collins and his patronizing patron. But that is not what I want you to focus on…this is more than just a romantic classic, this gives us insight into the bias of aristocracy and the downtrodden position of women in society. So contemplate that.
My Suggestion: Read the book.